Ultimate Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips

Crab Rangoon Crock Pot Dip

We threw a holiday party last night and I wanted to make something a little different, and also wanted to use my new-ish crock pot so I wouldn’t have to stand over the stove while we had people over. While brainstorming about my favorite drunk foods, I realized I wanted to make crab rangoon, or even easier, reverse crab rangoon aka a crab rangoon dip. (If dip counts as “reverse,” not sure, you know what I mean.)

A quick search on the ol’ internet taught me that I was not the first person to think of a crab rangoon dip, but a lot of the recipes from Pinterest just seemed a little basic (in the purest sense of the word). Crab, cream cheese, basically done. I attempted to elevate mine to the next level by incorporating more Asian ingredients and baking my own wonton chips, which is actually incredibly easy. This dip was devoured at my party. It’s perfect for a big gathering of boozy friends, say, your own holiday or new year’s party?

Ultimate Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips

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Roasted Fall Vegetable Superfood Pesto Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Pappardelle

When I cook pasta at home, I want to make it count. Only high quality noodles, toppings and sauce full of delicious flavors and textures, and obviously we’re going to need plenty of cheese.

I don’t normally like to buy ready-made stuff (cheating!), but pasta is an exception – I’m not trying to make from-scratch noodles at home on a regular basis, ain’t got time for that life. Three Bridges recently sent us a package of fresh pasta to sample, and I was intrigued because they’re a convenience brand BUT also focused on health, quality, freshness AND eco-friendly food products, right up my alley. I couldn’t resist whipping up a spectacular carb-filled celebration of my favorite seasonal vegetables.

Roasted Fall Vegetable Superfood Pesto Pasta

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Ultimate Island Food: Lobster & Black Bean Spring Rolls

Lobster Black Bean Spring Rolls 1

Lobster Black Bean Spring Rolls 2

Irie’s Island Food in Port Aransas (part of the Texas Gulf Coast) is the BEST ON THE ISLAND. Hands down. Everything they make is absolutely delicious, vibrant, and as from-scratch as possible. It doesn’t hurt that they’re walking distance from the ocean (read: absurdly fresh seafood).

One of my favorite things I tried there? Lobster and black bean spring rolls. Might sound like a weird combination, but it WORKED. Flaky spring roll wrappers are stuffed with fresh lobster, lots of black beans, and jack cheese, then deep fried and served incredibly hot. These guys are gigantic, too – one spring roll is equivalent to about 2-3 you’d get in your average Chinese takeout order. And you get three per order, so basically the amount of nine spring rolls. You could feed 3-4 people here, but obviously Rob and I split the entire order. Irie’s spring rolls also come with an array of bright, flavorful, also from-scratch dipping sauces (Golden Dragon was my #1) and some fresh slaw.

Irie’s is only open morning to mid-afternoon, and they often run out of their most popular seafood items. Our solution? Although maybe not traditional breakfast fare, we wolfed down these lobster spring rolls as our breakfast appetizer. Best breakfast ever, I’d say.

If you don’t live near the Texas coast, you could easily duplicate these at home – the rolls, at least. Just get some spring roll skins and stuff them with your favorite seafood (obv lobster is the top choice), black beans, and melty cheese, then fry those babies up. The dipping sauces would be harder to copy… me, I’ll probably just start planning another island getaway to Irie’s soon. I seriously think about how good it was all the time. It’s creepy.

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Food Porn of the Day: Nacho Mountain

Pile of Nachos Lavaca St Grill

When we ordered “nachos” at Lavaca Street bar IN AUSTIN, I didn’t realize that meant “a giant metal sheet pan filled to the brim with freshly fried tortilla chips smothered in both queso fresco and hot melted queso, spicy black beans, sour cream, fresh pico, and tons of jalapenos.” Really the giant sheet pan aspect and the combination of fresh cheese plus hot queso made these a shocking success. Plus the SHEER SIZE. This is like ten pounds of nacho.

Nacho Mountain

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Endless Pairings: Negra Modelo

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Mexican beer and fall-themed food. The perfect complement? Well, that’s what were determined to find out when Negra Modelo sent us a “pairing kit” to put it to the test. When presented with the opportunity to taste test, my answer is almost always yes. Negra Modelo sent us a box full of spices from The Spice House, two tulip glasses, a wooden cutting board, and a $50 Visa gift card to purchase the goods. Challenge accepted. Think of it as the at-home version of Chopped. Being seasonal food fans (mainly fall), we began planning a menu of fall foods that would highlight the spices (follow The Spice House recommendations) and pair well with a Vienna (dark) lager. Yes – a European beer style from Mexico. Here’s the menu:

  • Aged Cabot Cheese with apples, fig jam, balsamic glaze, and crostini
  • Spiced roasted brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potato puree with nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Ribeye steak with Quebec beef spice
  • Cornish Hen with bicentennial seasoning
  • Pork with bavarian style seasoning

We had a friend over and made a beer pairing tasting menu. Negra Modelo was served with the appetizer, followed by a taste of each protein with the sides. The beer and food was judged based on the flavor of each, whether the spices complemented the food, and if the beer paired well with each “course.” On to the tasting notes:

Negra Modelo (ABV: 5.4%)

Appearance: Dark caramel with a red hue

Aroma: Sweet scents with subtle scents of toast

Taste: Sweet malts give caramel flavor, biscuit flavor with light herbal and earthy tastes

Mouthfeel: Clean and crisp with lingering sweetness

Overall: A pleasant surprise, Negra Modelo provides more character than expected. While it is an InBev beer, I can forgive that if the brew offers some flavor. For a lager from Mexico, it offers the basic profile of a lager with extra sweetness of caramel and a toasty flavor as well. Tastes like it would pair well with fall foods. So here we go!

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Endless Road Trip: Collingswood Pop Shop

There is more to South Jersey than the Real Housewives: there is food. We were recently visiting  to celebrate my future sister-in-law”s birthday and went to the Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ. The name “pop shop” insinuates great ice cream floats, milk shakes, and fountain soda. However, I noticed that every waiter was wearing shirts touting their love for cheese. The shop was featured on Food Network”s Throwdown with Bobby Flay for their grilled cheese. The menu features the sandwiches from the show so some of us got that, while future sister-in-law ordered the trophy of dessert breakfasts – s”mores french toast. Then of course, we all gorged ourselves with desserts. Enough chit chat – on to the food.

S”mores French Toast:


Under the heading of “Fantastic French Toast Dreams,” you will find cinnamon bun french toast, banana”s foster, and even ham and cheese. But then you see the s”mores french toast on the menu and by chance see a waiter flaunting a pile of french toast, graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow on what has to be a silver platter. Clearly someone at the table is ordering the s”mores french toast. Sister-in-law ordered it with a small amount of persuasion from the table and offers to give up half of their sandwich for a bite of the gooey french toast.  Well I got my bite in a trade for some bacon and cheese fries. The bite included savory fresh french toast  soaked with chocolate sauce. Then the marshmallow sauce that glues the stack of french toast together hits you. Your bite must include a piece of the top of the stack, since that is where the crunch of the graham cracker comes from. While I would never be able to finish an entire dish of it, I would suggest someone at my table order it again.

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The Cronut of Pasta


The only problem with pasta…is that it isn’t a cake.

Until now.

Renowned noodle-maker Giovanni Rana shared this recipe for TORTELLINI BIRTHDAY CAKE. Yes, you read that right. Yes, you need to make this NOW.

Tortellini Birthday Cake

1 22 oz. package Giovanni Rana Cheese ‘Delicato’ Tortellini
1/2 cup Giovanni Rana Marinara Sauce
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano, divided
1/4 cup butter, plus extra for pan
1/4 cup flour
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups (packed) grated fontina cheese, divided
1 egg
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 cup ricotta

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